Smoke blown, here.

Aluminum Clean-up


I’m going  to take you into my back yard; it’s a good time to pull up in the shade and restart a sidelined project.


The overall project is to clean up my 1995 Honda VT600-C (Shadow VLX), the Baby Shadow, and shining up the aluminum alternator cover and clutch cover is part of that project.

The bike has lived its entire existence on the Texas coast in what is, arguably, the most corrosive climate in the country; the clear coat on the aluminum parts has cracked and pitted, allowing the aluminum to oxidize and discolor in spots.





This clutch cover was cleaned up, a little, before photographing but it’s the only “before” picture.

For purposes of demonstration the alternator side will be shown.


I’m going for an inexpensive face-lift without dismantling the bike.

I’ve cleaned the alternator cover with soap and water, let it dry, and it’s ready for the old clear coat to be removed. I used a generic gel-type paint stripper and protected the frame with plastic.





I repeated the process to be sure I got off all the old coating, and then applied Duro Aluminum Jelly to clean up some of the oxidation.

aluminum jelly


After the surface was cleaned up I wet sanded the cover, first with 400 grit,





then with 600 grit sandpaper.




At this point you may want to wet sand with 1000 or 1200 grit sandpaper. I opted to skip this step and finish off with Mothers Billet Metal Polish applied with 4/0 steel wool and a couple coats of Liquid Glass (Ultimate Auto Polish/Finish).

Final polish


The little Shadow is a workhorse and commuter, rather than a show pony, so I’m calling the quick clean up of this cover a success. At about 5:30 o’clock from the center you can see the reflection of the side stand.

A great show finish can be achieved by polishing with a buffing wheel.